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Monday, November 16, 2015

How to Travel with a Dog on Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Automobiles Edition)

My dog (Eugene, pictured above), has travelled more places than many humans. His resume includes having lived in New York City, Atlanta and now here in the UK. He's been to Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, all over Manhattan, London, Leeds, Nottingham and Canterbury, to name a few. So, I know a fair bit about taking my little lad away with me. And since most people will be going somewhere in a plane, train or automobile this holiday season, I thought I'd kick it off with a few tips for bringing your best friend with you.

Car Anxiety

Firstly, many dogs who don't go on joy rides with their owners, or ride to anywhere fun, are anxious in cars. If the only thing on the other side of the car trip is the vet, there can be serious anxiety. Eugene actually used to vomit when I first got him and we rode in the car. He became desensitized over time by taking him for a ride just because, bringing him to the park and so on. Now, he begs us to get in the car. Be mindful of this before you shove your pup in a car for a long trip. Unless it's a emergency and you have no choice, you need to start small and work him up.

The Journey

Most owners overlook seat belts or car harnesses for their dog. But, this really helps your dog feel secure and will ensure that he (or she) doesn't slip and slide all over the seat during the trip. Eugene has one very similar to this one , and it actually works quite well for him. They're very easy to fit and just clip into the seat belt buckle in the car.

If the trip is particularly long, bring some comfort items for your dog. This can include his bed, towels and toys. If your dog is comfortable, he'll probably just go to sleep after a while, but make this the easiest possible.

Safety Concerns

It may be common knowledge to some, but it is worth repeating. NEVER leave your dog unattended in a car. This can lead to overheating (and even death) and perhaps even theft of your BFF.

Have water with you at all times. I usually will pour some from a bottle into a cup and let him sip every so often. You can also get a collapsible dog bowl for a few bucks that can be, well, collapsed and easily taken with you.

Make sure to walk your dog at rest stops. If you're stopping for the bathroom, chances are your dog needs to go as well.

I will talk about my tips for planes and trains in another post in the future. Have fun travelling with your best mate!

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